VA employee helps save man's life on Interstate 10 overpass

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- A man shut down part of the I-10 freeway in Downtown Phoenix during the morning rush hour, threatening to jump from an overpass into oncoming traffic.

Four people pulled over to help, and one man even climbed to the top of the overpass, in an effort to try and save a stranger's life.

The man was on top of the 3rd Avenue pedestrian bridge. Before law enforcement got involved, a group of Phoenix VA employees stopped their morning commute to help. The man was a stranger to them, but his distress was all too familiar.

"He has just that absolute frustrated look on his face. That look on someone's face. You can tell deep inside, he was really hurting," said Odis Bailey. "You could tell the mixed emotions of rage, sadness."

Bailey was driving his two teenagers to school around 6:00 a.m., when he noticed three of his co-workers from the Phoenix VA hospital on the side of the freeway. Bailey pulled over, and then realized, they pulled over to help a suicidal man.

Bailey climbed up the fence too, and they spent about 15 minutes talking.

"The first part was basically trying to comfort him, that I do care, I was up here because I cared about him," said Bailey. "He had some family issues. Father who had passed away, battling drugs, dealing with not having contact with his son, and the straw that broke the camels back was he was sleeping behind a bush, and someone kicked him out."

An ADOT camera in the area shows traffic in the eastbound lanes of the I-10 empty, as police shut down traffic during the morning rush hour for safety reasons. Officers handcuffed the man to the fence, so he couldn't jump, and then, they used bolt cutters to create a hole to pull the man down.

"I honestly think that if nobody was there, he probably would've jumped," said Bailey. "One of the biggest problems was he thought nobody cared."

Bailey says the man's name was Andrew. Andrew was homeless, and moved to Phoenix from California. Bailey hopes aAdrew is getting the help he needs, and is able to get in touch with his family.